By Happy Carlock |
Even though Newt Gingrich lost to Rick Santorum in last night's two southern contests (Alabama and Mississippi), was too disorganized to qualify for the ballot in the state in which he now resides (Virginia), has won only his home state of Georgia and South Carolina, and has earned only about 12 percent of the delegates needed to win the nomination, he has no reason to withdraw from the presidential race this month.
But since Gingrich's only real cause is securing his place in history as a "visionary leader" and the conservative savior of the Republican Party in the post-Reagan period, he might as well stay around for a while and continue to bask in the harsh glow of the national media spotlight.
As Kellyanne Conway, a pollster and strategist for Gingrich's campaign, explained, "When you've been thinking about running for president for many years, and you've been running for a couple of years, what's three more weeks, or even three more months?"
Besides, his campaign will surely able to sustain the rationale for his candidacy and underwrite his electoral activities at least through the end of March. By besting Romney and placing second in Alabama and Mississippi yesterday, Gingrich can claim that he's running ahead of the Republican front-runner among conservatives. He can also suggest that he and Santorum offer different conservative alternatives (namely, ideas versus morals) to Romney; as such it's better for both of them to remain in the race. With the Louisiana primary on March 24, he can further argue that he has a good shot at winning the state and that it would be foolish to exit before then. Even if his official campaign is running short on funds, casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has likely provided Gingrich's super PAC with enough monies for Gingrich's candidacy to exist on air (television), if nowhere else for a few more weeks.
Gingrich possesses sufficient legitimacy, and he has no self-interested reason to drop out just yet. On April 3, the nomination race shifts back toward more northern states and more winner-take-all contests. By May, Gingrich, the historian, will likely make his transition to history.
About Lara Brown Author of 'Jockeying for the American Presidency: The Political Opportunism of Aspirants'
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
Krystal Ball MSNBC Contributor and Former Democratic Nominee for Congress in the First District of Virginia